By BILL PETERSON
BUDA — Friday night’s fourth running of the Hays-Lehman football crucible ended up not mattering one bit from a playoff standpoint, which probably was just as well for the Lehman Lobos.
Lockhart, with running back Dominique Hardaway galloping to last year’s form, stomped Manor, 42-14, and Del Valle handled Elgin, 20-7, so Lehman wouldn’t have gone to the playoffs with a win, anyway. And there was little in Hays’ 27-7 dismantling of the Lobos to indicate that Lehman could have won in any event.
The Rebels manhandled Lehman all over the line of scrimmage, ending the game with a rushing yards advantage of 231 to 28. Lehman’s complete offensive output came to 121 yards, so Hays gave up only 212.2 yards per game during the District 17-4A season.
“We never could get on track,” Lehman head coach Steve Davis said. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. Their defensive line dominated our offensive line. Lockhart did the same thing to us last week.”
On the whole, the Lobos will treasure the season as progress. The Lobos finished 5-5 overall, the first time they didn’t post a losing record. They finished 1-4 in the district, meaning they won their first district game. They could have won a game on the field of the district champs two weeks ago, but lost, 34-28, in overtime at Del Valle.
Davis said after the game that his players will have to hit the weight room this summer so the team can be physically tougher. The Lobos took the step to being competitive in their district games this year, but, Davis said, they must now learn how to win those games.
For the Rebels, Friday’s win is an up note going to the first round of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) playoffs next week. The Rebels will open against Huntsville next Saturday in Georgetown. Huntsville, 7-3 overall, extended its winning streak to five with a 23-7 win against Willis Friday night. Huntsville finished in a 6-1 first-place tie with Brenham in District 18-4A, but Brenham owns the tiebreaker with a 30-14 win in the last game Huntsville lost.
The Rebels pinned Lehman down with defense in the first half Friday night, while the offense was pretty good until reaching the red zone.
The Rebels took the lead with a five-yard touchdown run by Torrance Smith at the end of their first drive, which covered 84 yards in 12 plays. The Rebels wouldn’t score another offensive touchdown until the end of the third quarter. In the meantime, they settled for field goals when they could.
On their second possession, the Rebels drove from their own 40 to the Lehman 18 before penalties for illegal motion and chop blocking pushed them back to the 37. They punted, the defense forced a punt in three plays, and the Rebels then drove from their own 47 to the Lehman six. They settled for a 23-yard field goal by Ty Andrews to make it 10-0 deep into the second quarter.
The next Hays drive moved from its own 29 to the Lehman six, mostly due to a 32-yard pass down the right sideline from quarterback Sam Breyfogle to Kamien Carpenter. But time forced the Rebels to take another 23-yard field goal to make it 13-0 as time expired in the first half.
Hays stuffed the ball down Lehman’s throat for 229 offensive yards in the first half, while Lehman managed only 24 yards and one first down. Yet, the Lobos held firm enough defensively on the goal line to keep themselves in the game.
However, their kicking team could not hold firm. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Smith ran it back 76 yards for a touchdown, suddenly upping the Hays lead to 20-0. It was, suddenly, as if the Rebels really were that much better, and the game proceeded to its end as if that were well enough established.
“We felt as if the first offensive series in the second half for us was going to be a big one, and it doesn’t get better than that,” Hays coach Bob Shelton said.
Said Davis, “That was a big play that really kind of tilted the momentum their way.”
Lehman moved the ball much better in the second half, driving from their own 43 to the Hays eight in 12 plays from the ensuing kickoff. But Cory Bergstrom missed a 25-yard field goal, and Hays smashed right back down the field. The Rebels cruised 80 yards in eight plays, ending with Smith’s four-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter with a 27-0 Hays lead.
Jacob Torres scored on a two-yard run with 5:11 remaining in the game, making it 27-7. By then, the drift of the Lockhart game was well known, and everyone knew the Lobos wouldn’t win this one, anyway. Hays took care of ordinary business, while the Lobos couldn’t find any bit of the synchronicity they needed to extend their season.
In addition to anything that happened to Lehman, the key developments in the playoff race were Hardaway’s ups and downs. After rushing for 1,924 yards last year, Hardaway started the district season with ankle troubles and played very little in the first three district games, all of which Lockhart lost.
Coming to the point of needing two wins for playoff entry, Lockhart brought Hardaway back last Friday against Lehman, and he rushed for 175 yards in a 21-14 win that put Lehman in its final bind. Hardaway skipped through Manor for 165 yards Friday night, clinching the district’s fourth and final playoff berth for his team.
Davis said it really shouldn’t have come to that. The Lobos lost their district opener at Manor, 12-6 in overtime, allowing the Mustangs to score at the end of the fourth quarter. A win in that game, as well as their later win against Elgin, would have cinched a playoff berth for the Lobos a long time ago.
“We didn’t finish teams off when we should have, and we’ve been fighting uphill all the time,” Davis said.
The Lobos, at least, are moving uphill, while the Rebels, as usual, are moving to the playoffs.Email | Print